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Friday, January 1, 2016

MARY: MOTHER OF GOD, MOTHER OF MERCY


Today, the very first day of the New Year, we honor  Mary as the Theotokos, the Mother of God! 

    Her motherhood defines her whole being: she is the mother of Jesus, mother of the New Humanity, mother of the Church and mother of us all. Vatican II affirms the place of Mary in the history of salvation: "truly the mother of God and mother of the redeemer, in subordination to Christ along with him, by the grace of almighty God she served the mystery of redemption" (Lumen Gentium #56).
   
The motherhood of Mary to Jesus which started with the Annunciation reached its peak when she stood beneath the cross (Jn 19:25-26).  In his dying moment, she was called "woman" by Jesus which was the fulfillment of Gen. 3:15 ("I will put enmity between you and the woman…") and in reference to the woman during the wedding at Cana: "Woman what concern is that to you and to me?" (Jn. 2:4).   The same woman now clothed with the sun will be mentioned in the later part of the book of Revelation (Rev. 12).  After addressing her "woman", Jesus now turned to John and entrusted his mother to him: “Behold your mother”.  From that time on, Mary became the New Eve who is mother of the new humanity.  This will become her new role as the Vatican II puts it: "By her maternal charity Mary cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led to their happy fatherland' (Lumen Gentium #61). 

Mary who is the most distinguished member of the Church, is personified as the icon of the Church, hence we also call her the "Mother of the Church".  Consequently all those born in the Church by the virtue of baptism is also born of Mary, hence we also call her our own mother.  Because Mary personifies the virgin-Church (who is the "bride" of Christ), Mary remains a virgin and because the Church gives spiritual birth to all the children of God, Mary is also a mother.  This is the reason why we call her the Virgin Mother!

    It is because of the Church and Mary that we participate in the divine sonship of Jesus hence we have all become adopted children of God: "Then God sent his Son born of a woman that we should become adopted sons" (Gal. 4:4).  The proof that we are sons is the fact that God sent into our hearts the spirit of his Son which cries out 'Abba Father'! (Gal. 4:6).

    Here are the very words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego during the earliest Marian apparition: "Hear me and understand well, my son the least, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything."
   
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, let us entrust ourselves unto Mary, the Mother of Mercy!


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